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1 head better than 2: Nick acquires Noggin

Management, sked to remain the same

NEW YORK — Kiddie net Noggin has been adopted by Nickelodeon.

Nickelodeon, which launched the channel in 1998 with Sesame Workshop, has acquired Sesame’s 50% interest in Noggin. Change puts Noggin, available in 25 million homes, squarely in the MTV Networks family.

“The cable and satellite industry loves Noggin — it’s got great distribution, and it’s been a real asset in the marketing of our digital television,” said Tom Freston, chairman of MTV Networks. “Noggin is another strong youth brand for our company to have under our umbrella.”

Aside from the ownership change, much will remain the same at Noggin. General manager Tom Ascheim will remain in charge of day-to-day operations and will report to Herb Scannell, prexy of Nickelodeon, TV Land and TNN. Noggin also retains its educational mission and its current sked: commercial-free preschool programming 6 a.m.-6 p.m. and tweencentric from 6 p.m.-6 a.m.

Amicable buyout also includes a multiyear development deal with Sesame Workshop. Company will develop new series for the channel and continue to make its “Sesame Street” archives available for the next three years. Interactive skein “Play With Me Sesame,” based on “Sesame Street,” will continue on Noggin exclusively for seven more years. “Sponk” and “Tiny Planets,” co-produced by Nick and Sesame Workshop, will remain on the sked.

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